David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Cognition 115 (2):320–32 (2010)
In an article in Cognition, Machery, Mallon, Nichols, and Stich [Machery et al., 2004] present data which purports to show that “East Asian” native Cantonese speakers tend to have descriptivist intuitions about the referents of proper names, while “Western” native English speakers tend to have causal-historical intuitions about proper names. Machery et al take this finding to support the view that some intuitions, the universality of which they claim is central to philosophical theories, vary according to cultural background. Machery et al hypothesize that the differences in intuitions about reference stem from general psychological differences between Eastern and Western subjects. Machery et al conclude from their findings that the philosophical methodology of consulting intuitions about hypothetical cases is flawed vis ` a vis the goal of determining truths about some philosophical domains. To quote Machery et al, “our data indicate that philosophers must radically revise their methodology” because “the intuitions philosophers pronounce from their armchairs are likely to be a product of their own culture and their academic training” ( [Machery et al., 2004] pp.B9). “The evidence suggests that it is wrong for philosophers to assume a priori the universality of their own semantic intuitions” ( [Machery et al., 2004] pp. B8). In the following study, I present data incompatible with Machery et al’s results. Native Cantonese-speaking immigrants from a Cantonese diaspora 1 in Southern California do not have descriptivist intuitions about the referents of proper names when presented with a Cantonese story and Cantonese questions about reference and truth-value. This data raises questions about the quality of Machery et al’s study and the conclusions they draw from it.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Jennifer Nado (2014). Philosophical Expertise and Scientific Expertise. Philosophical Psychology 28 (7):1026-1044.
Jeffrey Maynes (2015). Interpreting Intuition: Experimental Philosophy of Language. Philosophical Psychology 28 (2):260-278.
James Genone (2012). Theories of Reference and Experimental Philosophy. Philosophy Compass 7 (2):152-163.
James Andow (2014). Intuitions, Disagreement and Referential Pluralism. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (2):223-239.
Justin Sytsma, Jonathan Livengood, Ryoji Sato & Mineki Oguchi (2015). Reference in the Land of the Rising Sun: A Cross-Cultural Study on the Reference of Proper Names. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (2):213-230.
Similar books and articles
Henry Jackman (2009). Semantic Intuitions, Conceptual Analysis, and Cross-Cultural Variation. Philosophical Studies 146 (2):159 - 177.
Edouard Machery, Ron Mallon, Shaun Nichols & Stephen P. Stich (2004). Semantics, Cross-Cultural Style. Cognition 92 (3):1-12.
Ron Mallon, Edouard Machery, Shaun Nichols & Stephen Stich (2009). Against Arguments From Reference. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (2):332 - 356.
Justin Sytsma & Jonathan Livengood (2011). A New Perspective Concerning Experiments on Semantic Intuitions. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (2):315-332.
Edouard Machery, Christopher Y. Olivola & Molly De Blanc (2009). Linguistic and Metalinguistic Intuitions in the Philosophy of Language. Analysis 69 (4):689-694.
Genoveva Marti (2009). Against Semantic Multi-Culturalism. Analysis 69 (1):42-48.
Edouard Machery, Ron Mallon, Shaun Nichols & Stephen P. Stich (2013). If Folk Intuitions Vary, Then What? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (3):618-635.
Christian D. Schunn & Alonso H. Vera (2004). Cross-Cultural Similarities in Category Structure. Thinking and Reasoning 10 (3):273 – 287.
Michael Devitt (2011). Experimental Semantics. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (2):418 - 435.
Added to index2009-06-06
Total downloads134 ( #28,902 of 1,911,066 )
Recent downloads (6 months)17 ( #36,037 of 1,911,066 )
How can I increase my downloads?